Chapter 19 - Return To The Blue Nixie

Not surprisingly, it took a couple days for the Sea Wyvern to reach the far side of the Isle of Dread. The trip was very tense for anyone who spent any time around Captain Amella, Saris or Malfus, as the two men jockeyed for her attention. Her patients with both was so short as to be nonexistent, and their attitude towards each other verged on hostile.

Amella ordered the ship anchored almost a mile off shore, cautious of the hidden reefs she knew were there. There was no disagreement that the very pregnant ship’s captain would remain on the Sea Wyvern. Saris, Kaskus and Malfus rowed to shore to evaluate the Nixie’s condition before they would begin ferrying over the workers.

The ship was sitting on the reef just off-shore from the northeastern coast of the Isle, just as they’d left her. The Blue Nixie took a beating during the storm that wrecked her, and over the past several weeks she'd been slowly falling to pieces. As they rowed up to the vessel, Saris could easily calculate the damage. Of her 24 hull sections, 9 were completely destroyed. Additionally, all three of her rigging sections were destroyed.

“If we all work together, we might be able to have the riggings repaired in a day,” Saris estimated. “Three or four more days for the hull sections. With luck and a bit of magic, we might be able to shave some time off that estimate. Once all the repairs are made, it's simply a matter of waiting for high tide."

Suddenly, Saris went quite, “Did you guys hear something? He turned and looked towards the open sea and what caught his eye filled him with primal dread – a large wedge-shaped fin, moving towards them. “SHARK!” He called, and they began rowing towards shallower waters.

The shark was father off than it had at first appeared, primarily because it was also much larger than a typical shark – even a Great White. This fish was HUGE. This also made it a much faster swimmer and, once it reached water too shallow to swim in, it launched itself onto the reef, though it could get no closer.

In their attempt to put distance between themselves and the shark, they almost failed to notice another threat emerging around the bow of the ship: a huge elasmosaurus. It’s long neck jutted out of the water reaching almost above the deck of the beached ship. It looked for all the world like some sort of sea serpent, except that the hump of its’ body could be seen behind it. It roared a wet, gurgling growl as it attacked, chomping Saris around the mid section and flinging him into the water.

The elasmosaurus' attack upset the rowboat causing Malfus and Kaskus to abandon the watercraft just as a bolt of lighting came down. After a brief moment of orienting themselves in the water to face the danger the men found that they could stand, the water being only waist-deep. This was fortunate as the shallowness prevented the shark from advancing, but the elasmosaurus was not as limited.

"You dead, Saris?" Malfus called just before noticing a figure on the deck of the Blue Nixie babbling in a language that sounded both gutturally harsh and high pitched at the same time.

"Not a chance, Malfus!" Saris called back with some difficulty as he managed to stand. He noted the water around him clouding crimson, and glanced anxiously towards the huge shark going crazy, thrashing about futilely just on the ledge of the reef.

"Great! Then do something useful instead of teasing the shark!" Malfus shot as he quickly maneuvered himself away from the elasmosaurus, while keeping a safe distance from the shark, to position himself at a distance to start shooting arrows at the hideous figure shouting a seemingly endless stream of what the men could only guess was incantation as it seemed to be responsible for the lightning attack.

With grim determination Saris made for the Nixie, and began climbing all the while managing to avoid another chomp from the elasmosaurus' blue toothed jaws. When he finally hauled himself over the railing he could see that the humanoid figure was only humanoid from the waist up, and it wasn't a very pretty from the waist up either. It had webbed, taloned hands that kept gesticulating, and its head was that of a horrible large-eyed fish with facial tentacles surrounding a pucker-like maw filled with tiny sharp teeth. Its lower body was serpentine, with a tail consisting of three powerful flukes, each ending in a cruel hook. From somewhere in the back of his mind, Saris recalled Urol describing such a being, calling it a kopru. Before he could really appreciate this bit of oddly remembered trivia, the kopru lashed out, and Saris engaged with his sword.

Having not been able to get another bite of Saris the elasmosaurus turned its attention on Malfus whose position had him standing way out in the open. Kaskus quickly waded his way to the shore, where he turned to call down his own bolt of lightning upon the sea monster attacking Malfus. Unfortunately, Kaskus' efforts didn't prevent the dinosaur from chomping viciously on Malfus. Malfus cried out before crumpling, the water lapping at his fallen form clouding with blood. Seeing that he could do no more, Kaskus retreated to the jungle.

On board the Nixie, Saris had just taken a severe blow from the kopru. He staggered to the railing before pitching over into the water. Somehow he was able to make it to shore and rendezvous with Kaskus, who quickly helped the other man to safety. As they were retreating the kopru began shouting out in its strange language, and Kaskus had the sense to wait a moment.

Kaskus watched as the huge shark stilled its blood frenzied thrashing then slipped back into the water to swim away. The kopru then descended from the ship and slither-swam over to Malfus and the elasmosaurus. After a moment of muttering the kopru took Malfus back to the ship with the elasmosaurs following.

"Where's Malfus?" Saris managed as he leaned heavily on Kaskus too weak to raise his head to see for himself.

"He fell, and I couldn't get to him," Kaskus said as he hauled Saris further into the jungle for cover and a place to heal. "Looks like he isn't dead, though. The fish-serpent-guy-thing and that blue toothed monster took him back to the ship."

Saris managed a grunt of acknowledgement before giving in to exhaustion. Between a full night's rest and the miraculous ministrations of Kaskus' healing, Saris was back to full strength by morning.

"We need a plan," Saris said after he and Kaskus surveyed what they could from a safe distance.

"Right, the sooner we get in there the better our chances of finding Malfus alive," Kaskus agreed.

"Right," Saris said begrudgingly. He was looking forward more to getting back at that kopru than actually rescuing Malfus, though he wasn't the kind to leave a man behind.

"It'll be tricky with that blue toothed monster on the prowl," Kaskus was saying as if he hadn't hear Saris' tone.

"Well, I don't see Ol' Bluetooth out there, so maybe if we're lucky we can sneak in. Perhaps we can make for the far side of the hull. You can do something about the wood, right?"

"Yeah, I can handle the wood," Kaskus said with a grin.

"Good then let's go." And with that Saris led the way.

They waded out to the ship as quietly as they could. Though they managed a bit of luck with avoiding Bluetooth, whose patrol had taken him farther away from the ship, the guys weren't quite as stealthy as they had planned. Just as Kaskus made ready to warp the wood with his Druid spell the kopru attacked from underwater.

Saris struck the kopru successfully causing a good bit of damage and earning the kopru's full attention. They grappled, the kopru pulling Saris under then taking him out to sea. Thinking fast, Kaskus used his wildform, becoming a squid to jet out after them. As he tried to wrap a tentacle around the kopru's arms to pry Saris loose the kopru lashed out slicing Kaskus. Kaskus, unable to do more, let loose a cloud of ink and shot towards the shore.

Saris managed to twist loose his sword arm and, with a powerful jerk, managed a series of blows that had a most fortunate outcome. As he jerked his arm up, sword in hand, his elbow gave the kopru a powerful blow to the jaw as his sword sliced along the kopru's torso. At the same time he sliced, Saris pushed away. The kopru fell unconscious to sink into the deep, leaving a cloudy trail of blood, and no way to reach him. All his treasures seeming to sink with him.

Swimming back to the ship and meeting up with a much relieved Kaskus, the two men were able to board the Nixie and located Malfus who was tied up in seaweed suspended in water up to his neck. After freeing and reviving Malfus the three men began to scout the ship, checking for anything of value and surveying things from the inside needing repair.

"So what was that thing doing?" Kaskus asked as they looked around.

"He kept babbling on and on. Sometimes he seemed to be interrogating me, at others…I don't know. I didn't really understand him, though I think he said something like 'Skephilipika' a few times as he beat his chest," Malfus explained.

"Hmph! Well, either that was his name or he was telling you about some kind of VD he got from his last tryst hoping to you'd be better," Saris said with a grin.

Malfus and Kaskus both laughed, and as they did Saris turned to find what looked like a pearl necklace among a some odd tools and rubbish.

"What's that?" Malfus asked as Saris picked up the necklace.

"Might be a Periapt of Wisdom, but I can't be sure," Kaskus supplied.

"Well, whatever it is, it's ours. Let's get the others over here to start repairs," Saris said as he pocketed the trinket.

With in a few hours repairs were underway.

Continue to Chapter 20

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